Saturday, February 18, 2006

MPIC - one of those DOF converters

An SLR lens projects an image on a ground glass. The image is videotaped by a camcorder. The image captured on tape maintains the characteristics of the image generated by the SLR lens on the ground glass.

A thread on this: New moving ground glass mechanism

Friday, February 17, 2006

Thursday, February 16, 2006

HVX200: direct capture to Final Cut (FCP)

Hook the HVX up to the Mac via FireWire

Launch FCP

Set your Capture Scratch location

Open Log and Capture

Go to the Capture Settings tab

Set Device Control to Non-Controllable Device

Set Capture/Input to match whatever HD variant you have the HVX set in (DVCProHD 720p24, DVCProHD 1080i60, etc.)
1. Go into your Audio/Video settings: Capture preset should be set to what your recording format is. So if you're shooting 1080 (any frame rate), set the capture preset to DVCPRO HD - 1080i60 48 kHz. If you're shooting 720P/24P set the Capture Preset to DVCPRO HD - 720p24 48 kHz. Set Device Control to Non-Controllable Device.

2. Your Camera should be set in the "Other Functions" menu to: 1394 Control "OFF," 1394 CMD SEL "REC_P" and PC Mode 1394 Device.

Note: Do not set your camera to record 720P/30PN or 720P/24PN. Neither of these framerates are understood by Final Cut and will likely cause your program to crash.

Frame up your shot

Hit the Capture Now button and away you go!

Burgert Brothers Photography 1930 - 1934 - mostly of Tampa, Florida; images feature big "copyright" notices...

Bridge and Tunnel Club - Big Map

"The Big Map is an admittedly incomplete, admittedly subjective view of the five boroughs of New York. It is places we've been, places we enjoy or places we'd like to visit."

Encyclopedia of Cultural Detritus - site map (I think)

For example:
Washington Square Arch Details
Views from the top of the Washington Square Arch

Seamless Data Distribution System provides DOQQ, SRTM, NED, Orthoimagery, Landsat, elevation and much more for free download.

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Geographic Data Download

W. Evans - Photos of America (including architecture) around 1930

Field Monitor and the HVX200 - recommends Marshall V-R70P-HDA, along with Bescor NMH-65A 14.4V NiMH batteries

Down-converting compared

Q. Which would look better? (sharper, better color, etc)

A) HD shot on the HVX200 and then downconverted to DV
B) DV shot on the HVX200
C) DV shot on the DVX100b


A. I ran this test. In my opinion, of those options, shooting DV on the HVX beats the others. But shooting DV50 [DVCPRO50] on the HVX is way better than the others.

Redrock M2 - includes a nice list of links to DOF (depth of field) adapters

Scaling the firewall of digital censorship

A Canadian-designed computer program is preparing to break through what activists call the great firewall of China.

The program, in the late stages of development in a University of Toronto office, is designed to help those trapped behind the blocking and filtering systems set up by restrictive governments. If successful, it will equip volunteers in more open countries to help those on the other side of digital barriers, allowing a free flow of information and news into and out of even the most closed societies.

The program is part of a quiet war over freedom of information. Even as countries considered repressive, such as China, North Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia, pour money into stopping the free exchange of data, small groups of activists keep looking for ways around the technological barriers.

At the University of Toronto, in the small basement office of Citizen Lab, researchers are getting ready for the release of Psiphon, the latest weapon in the fight.

Psiphon is designed to eliminate a drawback of anti-filter programs: incriminating the users behind the firewall. If found by authorities, that anti-filter software can lead to coercive interrogation, a bid to uncover the suspect's Internet travel secrets using a tactic known to insiders as "Rubber-hose cryptoanalysis."

Mr. Villeneuve built a system that won't leave dangerous footprints on computers. In simple terms, it works by giving monitored computer users a way to send an encrypted request for information to a computer located in a secure country. That computer finds the information and sends it back, also encrypted.

An elegant wrinkle is that the data will enter users' machines through computer port 443. Relied on for the secure transfer of data, this port is the one through whichreams of financial data stream constantly around the world.

"Unless a country wanted to cut off all connections for any financial transactions they wouldn't be able to cut off these transmissions," said Professor Ronald Deibert, the director of Citizen Lab.

A drawback to Psiphon is that the person behind the firewall has to be given a user name and password by the person offering up the computer. With this kind of setup, Mr. Villeneuve said, activists may end up working with specific dissidents and people in repressive countries may rely on relatives abroad to help them get connected. Canadians, with ties to every country in the world, are in a particularly good position to use such a system.

Although this reduces the program's reach, a relationship-based system could also minimize improper use. People who know the owner of their proxy computer are less likely to abuse their system, the logic goes.

If the remote user begins to view illegal material, their access can be limited in several ways, such as allowing access to text only. In extreme cases, Mr. Villeneuve said, people found with evidence of illegal activity on their computer would be able to prove through forensic analysis that it had been done by the remote user.

The team at Citizen Lab is now racing to put the final touches on the program in time for its public debut at the international congress of the free-speech group PEN in May. Billed as a uniquely Canadian approach to "hactivism," the first generation of Psiphon will then be made publicly available.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A look at HVX vs. Andromeda

A response with regard to Andromeda resolution:
Resolution - some valid concerns?

Indie Access

Formed in 1998 to provide a link between people making films and people looking for work in film, IndieAccess has become an indispensable resource for producers across North America.

IndieAccess has become the one stop shop for independent features, short films, music videos and industrials to locate the crew and actors they need. IndieAccess features crew and talent of all levels of experience.

People looking for film jobs in Canada, by city

Capturing uncompressed HD

I was specifically using Decklink HD PRO 4:4:4 ($1495 U.S)

and the Multibridge HD ($1995 U.S.) to convert the HD anolog out to SDI.

digitizing to an Xserve RAID ($8000 U.S.)

Keep in mind this system is in a post-house, so not the kind of thing you would be able to cart out to location to record uncompressed HD.

Blackmagic Design: DeckLink HD - a card (Mac or Windows) that was suggested for capturing HD-SDI from the Canon XL H1

Canon XLH1 does uncompressed 1080i 4:2:2 over HD-SDI

A few excerpts:

The one advantage for me to getting the XLH1 was the SDI port. I was going to get the Decklink multibridge that had component HD in as well as analog audio for all the other HD cameras. Now that the Canaon has SDI I could just get the $500 HD dEcklink card. The only problem is the lack of audio out on the SDI port. The current Decklink HD cards only take in AES or Spdif audio.

Does anybody know of a cheap way to convert analog audio to AES or Spdif digital audio so I can import through a Decklink card. If this is going to be too dificult I may still have to get the Multibridge. Or I guess I could record a HDV tape as well and then resync the audio from the hdv tape to the uncompressed version on my system. That seems like a huge pain however.


You could build a PC with an internal 6 or 8 drive array, a declink card and a dual core CPU. That's what I am doing. Obviously mains power, a generator or a large inverter will be needed to power it, but for most drama shoots mains power is available.


NVIDIA Melody creates high quality normal maps that make a low-poly model look like a high-poly model. Simply load your low-poly working model, then load your high-poly reference model, click the "Generate Normal Map" button and watch Melody go to town. The normal map generator can also create texture coordinates from your high-poly reference model using a projection technique.

Let try to get Panasonic to implement this in firmware


The idea is to have direct output from the camera of the video recorded sent DIRECTLY to a remote computer, without any expensive interface.

Here is how it would work:

The Panasonic HVX200 is a Linux OS camera. It has all the feature a Linux has. The P2 Slot is basically only a PCMCIA slot; it is branded P2 for the media protocol.

Now you install into this Linux firmware the driver for a PCMCIA GigE Network card, for example: D-Link - DGE-660TD - 10/100/1000 Gigabit PCMCIA Network Adapter
That is 40$ only.

With that done, you have computer access to the camera (a lot could be done: web interface, remote interface to control focus, zoom... but these are other options after), but the camera also has access to the computers.

Now DVCPRO HD uses 133mbits/sec bandwidth transfer. The GigE can provide over 300mbits without any problem in both directions (1000 mbits/sec in theory but let's keep a nice margin). That is more than enough. Now the idea is for the Linux system to connect to a remote NFS drive. Once this is done, the camera has direct (like a hard disk or a P2 card) access to the contents.


Like I said, it would also allow direct to the camera from a PC. So software could be made to control the camera externally. Record a focus, or zoom movement and repeat the same one over and over. The camera could broadcast the video on the network, and you can have any computers on that GigE network see the live footage and deliver to different monitor and recording.

From IMDB: Top 20 or so keywords for various directors:

Keywords for Martin Scorsese

40 independent-film
21 film-making
16 new-york-city
14 murder
13 new-york
13 non-fiction
13 tv-special
12 based-on-novel
12 interview
12 violence
11 awards-show
9 political
8 director
8 gangster
8 historical
8 mother-son-relationship
8 vulgarity
7 behind-the-scenes
7 black-comedy
7 blood

Keywords for Quentin Tarantino

24 independent-film
16 violence
14 blood
14 blood-splatter
13 black-comedy
13 murder
12 shot-in-the-head
11 revenge
11 vulgarity
10 awards-show
10 death
10 shot-in-the-forehead
10 shot-to-death
10 tv-special
9 neo-noir
9 non-fiction
9 sex
9 shot-in-the-chest
9 twist-in-the-end
8 film-making

Keywords for Michael Bay

7 title-spoken-by-character
5 behind-the-scenes
5 blockbuster
5 helicopter
5 police
4 black-cop
4 blood-splatter
4 independent-film
4 interview
4 wheelchair
3 based-on-true-story
3 blood
3 buddy-comedy
3 buddy-cop
3 chase
3 drugs
3 fall-from-height
3 film-making
3 friend
3 gun

Keywords for James Cameron

13 the-terminator
12 film-making
11 independent-film
10 behind-the-scenes
9 helicopter
9 violence
8 interview
8 making-of
7 blockbuster
7 chase
7 cyborg
7 gun
7 murder
7 police
7 robot
7 sequel
7 suicide
6 alien
6 android
6 cult-favorite

Keywords for Steven Spielberg

45 film-making
43 behind-the-scenes
41 interview
37 blockbuster
33 making-of
30 tv-special
29 sequel
27 wwii
23 kids-and-family
22 independent-film
21 awards-show
21 murder
19 title-spoken-by-character
18 hollywood
16 robot
14 gun
13 alien
13 based-on-novel
13 dog
13 product-placement

Keywords for Andrei Tarkovsky
4 water
3 based-on-novel
3 hope
3 religion
3 snow
3 spirituality
3 student-film
2 alien
2 despair
2 dog
2 faith
2 flashback-sequence
2 flying-woman
2 madness
2 paranormal
2 psychological-drama
2 sacrifice
2 suicide
2 surreal

Keywords for Ingmar Bergman

17 based-on-play
11 based-on-novel
11 nudity
8 marriage
6 flashback-sequence
6 human-relationship
6 religion
5 psychological-drama
5 surreal
4 actress
4 affair
4 death
4 extramarital-affair
4 love
4 mother-daughter-relationship
4 priest
4 suicide
3 abortion
3 adultery
3 faith

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Foxit Reader - small, fast, clean, and free PDF reader

A review of The West's Last Chance

"As we saw at the beginning of this review, the project that Blankley proposes is by no means a conservative enterprise. In effect, he is laying the foundation for a new patriotism, to the nation of the West, on whose survival all the historical patriotisms of France and Holland and Germany and America depend. This is a real conceptual problem with the book: if a revival of patriotism is one of the things that are necessary to fight off the Islamist challenge, then how can one characterize the campaign in terms of the defense of the West as a whole? Nonetheless, we see here an outline of a formidable engine, one that could, conceivably, fulfill the function for which it was designed."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Rock City - nice image

Dinesh D'Souza on Blasphemy

"The reaction of newspapers in Europe has been to reprint the offensive cartoons in the name of freedom of expression. "We would have done exactly the same thing if it had been a pope, rabbi or priest caricature," wrote the editor of France Soir. He was reflecting the secular view of fairness. This concept of fairness was exhibited when Muslims complained that school girls were prohibited from wearing Islamic dress. The French government responded by declaring that Christians could not wear crosses either. Look, say the French, we are being fair by discriminating equally against all religions. This was the point being made by the editor of the paper: we are insulting the Muslims just like we routinely insult Jews and Christians."

[includes commentary]

Cardinal Ruini announces the cause for beatification of Fr. Andrea Santoro - Celebrating the funeral mass for the murdered priest, the Cardinal speaks of the necessity to "reaffirm the right to religious freedom".

Abortion's Maternal Victims - More Evidence Finds Negative Effects on Women


Discussion of:
Animation & Compositing
Audio Hardware & Software
Film & Video Editing
Input/Output [Hardware]
Multimedia & DVD Authoring

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Kaboom! Ancient Impacts Scarred Moon To Its Core, May Have Created "Man In The Moon"

Ohio State University planetary scientists have found the remains of ancient lunar impacts that may have helped create the surface feature commonly called the "man in the moon."

Their study suggests that a large object hit the far side of the moon and sent a shock wave through the moon's core and all the way to the Earth-facing side. The crust recoiled -- and the moon bears the scars from that encounter even today.

The finding holds implications for lunar prospecting, and may solve a mystery about how past impacts on Earth affect it's geology today.

HVX to Powerbook Capture Results


Mode 3 - Capture to an external drive on it's own FW bus using the LaCie PCMCIA FW800 card; HVX into FW400 port, External drive on the LaCie FW800 card port.


Mode 3 was perfect. No dropouts, no stutter and no sound clicks. Like tape, both the internal and external drives needed to stabilize during the first few seconds of capture, but after that it was smooth sailing.


We feel Mode 3 is absolutely ready for "prime time". In fact, it's a faster workflow than using P2 because the files have already been captured into FCP and don't require the MXF files being translated by FCP during import. You also get the added benefits of having shot, scene and clip naming conventions used for editing. This is a true DTE solution, just obviously not as portable as P2.


I just completed a day of interviews with Robert's setup ... mode 3, as it may have been called. I have a 17" PowerBook with 1 gig of RAM, a Lacie Firewire 800 PC card, a 500 GB OWC Firewire 800 RAID and, obviously, the HVX. I set up my system exactly how Robert suggested ...

I did three 30-45 minute interviews yesterday morning recording at 720/30 P ...

... and it worked PERFECTLY!

No dropped frames, no strange shutodwns, no errors.

I would stop and save from time to time but I had some captures that went for 20 minutes straight (not what I wanted to do but I simply forgot as I was also the interviewer.)

The footage just looked awesome and I haven't detected any drops or glitches.

The "octotoad" polyhedron from Wings3D (perhaps only if all the quads are squares) is a rhombicuboctahedron.

To make a nice regular rhombicuboctahedron with no rectangular faces in Wings3D, you can select all the faces on a cube and bevel it by 2.929 (hit Tab to enter the number).

1080/24p Is More Detailed Than 720 Mode - some HVX200 framegrabs

New location of framegrabs: here

HVX200 a winner!

Forgive the cheesy subject line...

I attended a test of 4 HD cameras yesterday. The Sony HVRZ1U, JVC GY-HD100U, Panasonic AG-HVX200, and the Canon XL-H1.